Tool – Live at Acer Arena

It’s no surprise to any of my friends that when I was offered the chance to shoot Tool that it was indeed monumental. From the very first moment I heard them back in 1994 at a school friends house, I was hooked. It was something that I couldn’t explain, their message was unfamiliar, it was dark and heavily open to personal interpretation. I remember said school friend and I would meet up at either recess or lunch and sharing the headphones of my then baby blue Sony Walkman we would listen to Tool, and at the time, not understanding why each of us heard something different to the other. But, as I came to find later, that was both the beauty and ingenious of Tool.
unkonshus-1Wether it was the ambiguity of their lyrics or the mystery behind the band. Everyone felt like they were an intellectual when it came to Tool, wether they were pseudo or not. It’s often been said that the worse thing about Tool is their fans and in later years I have come to agree with that statement more and more. But, flash back to 1994 and then 1996 when their second album AENIMA dropped, not only did their music thrill me, it scared the shit out of me too. I remember amongst my friends at school, you were either on one of two teams Team Pearl Jam or Team Smashing Pumpkins (there were other groups like the hip hop and indie/brit pop kids) But, when it came to Pearl Jam or Smashing Pumpkins, any day of the week you could land yourself into the argument over who was the better band? Was it Smashing Pumpkins musical talent or was Billy Corgan boring on stage while Eddie Vedder was the epitome of a live showmanship? These were the important questions that the kids were asking.

unkonshus-2 unkonshus-6It was at this period Tool took control of my aforementioned baby blue Sony walkman, and my brain. For the first time in my life I really explored the music, content, sound and of course members. For the first time, I wanted and needed to know about each member, what they were thinking when they wrote these songs, the band dynamics, their inspirations and their history. I had always been brought up listening to music, my parents bought me my first vinyl when I was 3 and at 5 I was attending my first gigs. This was different. It may of been the age I was at, or the simple fact that this was so different and resonated so much with me considering the sheltered school life that I was dealing with at the time. Whereas listening to Nine Inch Nails was a brutal assault on my young mind, Tool provided it with a fucking good book. A book that was so relatable and so expansive, it felt like a cult movie that every time you watched it you found something new or every time you re read its pages… another series of questions popped up. In many of my art class essays I would write 4000 word essays on the meanings of tracks like “Pushit”, “Intolerance”, “Jimmy”, “Stinkfist” and “Third eye”. This came to much shock and horror to my then art teacher who often had to read my ramblings and send letters home to my parents saying that I should seek a councillors advise.
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As the high school years began to wind up, I found myself gravitating away from my older friendships to ones with people who listened too and respected TOOL. In the years after high school I became quite a recluse, all I wanted to do was sit in my then childhood room, listen to TOOL and find people on this thing called the “internet” to speak more about them. I made a bunch of friends in places I never thought I would ever visit, places like the UK and United States who would sit and talk to me for hours and hours upon hours about live experiences they had watching TOOL. Trawling the internet, seeking lyrics and any scanned in live image I could. Promising myself, one day, that I too would also see them.

Too sum it all up, 15 year old me would never of believed that I would eventually see them 10 or more times on 4 different continents, let alone get to shoot them live. I guess that’s why when I posted these on tumblr last year, the title had to be “A Dream Come True”.

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